The East Side Kids search a spooky manor.
James McDonald | Southern California | 02/20/2004
(3 out of 5 stars)
"It began with Dead End(1937). The boys came from the Broadway play and landed their first starring role togehter. After DEAD END (1937), First national Pictures picked them up to doCrime School [VHS] (1938) and they made many more films for over 20 years until 1958. Some of the cast still known as The Dead End Kids joined The Little Tough Guys in nine films for the new Universal and the serials 1938-1943. However in 1940, Leo Gorcey and Bobby Jordan became The East Side Kids from 1940-1945 for Monogram Pictures Corp. Billy Halop and Bernard Punsly did not join them. They continued as The Dead End Kids with The Little Tough Guys. The East Side Kids came about from the film THE EAQST SIDE KIDS (1940) and although the gang we enjoyed are not in that film, they spawned into the next film East Side Kids - Boys of the City (1940), which is considered the first official film for the beginning of the East Side Kids. Bobby Jordan and Leo Gorcey are top billed. Huntz hall and Gabriel Dell are not in this one, but returned to the Gorcey/Jordan gang later in the film series. David Gorcey plays "Pete". He is the younger brother of Leo. Also part of the new gang is Sunshine Sammy Morrison as "Scruno", Donald Haines as "Pee Wee", Hally Chester as "Buster" and Frankie Burke as "Skinny". Frankie Burke (as of this writing is still alive) played the younger "Rocky", the James Cagney character in Angels With Dirty Faces (1938). All the boys are invited to the Judge's manor. However, his manor is a spooky one full of secret passageways. They brought the boys hoping they could prevent a murder. Other scary films with the East Side Kids are: Spooks Run Wild (1941) [Remastered Edition] (1941) and East Side Kids: Ghosts on the Loose (1943). The next film in the series is: East Side Kids: That Gang of MineTHAT GANG OF MINE (1940)."
Ghostly Classic Crime Comedy Mystery!!
James McDonald | 04/12/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Muggs and the gang are arrested for opening up a fire hydrant on a blistering summer day.Their friend Knuckles gets them off the hook by promising to take the gang to a summer camp in the upper Adirondacks to keep them out of mischief.On their trip they meet a judge and his entourage who are having car trouble.Knuckles offer the judge and his group a ride and when they arrive to the judges mansion and then their car fails with the judge reluctantly offering the gang to stay there.The judges mansion is dark,creepy with a graveyard out in front and an eerie housekeeper inside.The boys can detect trouble and when the judge is murdered and it's up to boys to solve the mystery.Great East Side Kids Classic!!"
Worn out, soft film used for DVD mastering.
Paul J. Mular | San Carlos, CA USA | 02/25/2005
(3 out of 5 stars)
"First let me say that for $7.99 this DVD is passable. The sound is not distorted, but the video is a little soft and contrasty. It was not bad enough to distract from the viewing on a 36" screen. It is much better than the artifact ridden Platinum Disc "8-Movie Set" version of this title.
I give this Alpha/Gotham DVD the lower rating because the film used has seen too many careless TV stations. There are many film splices, and at one point in the middle of the film the damage is so severe that the picture starts jumping up and down for a few minutes.
These independent films were not given as much storage care as the later Bowery Boys series, so good prints are hard to find."
Scruno got "scruned"
Annie Van Auken | Planet Earth | 03/15/2010
(3 out of 5 stars)
"BOYS OF THE CITY (1940) has the sort of un-P.C. humor that easily offends modern sensibilities.
Here, the gang (minus Glimpy, that is, Huntz Hall) get in trouble once too often and are sent to the mountains for a vaycay. The story quickly turns into a dark house mystery with a creepy housekeeper, a ghost and secret passageways that look like something out of THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME (1939).
Ernest Morrison, credited only as Sunshine Sammy, endures heavy-handed racism throughout the hour with his skeered o' spooks rattlin' and a disgusting watermelon sight gag. While the kids all have a substantial meal served to them, 'Scruno' is given a quarter-wedge of melon. He looks at it and happily declares, "Ah sho' do loves wahtahmelin!" then takes an enormous no-hands bite, like a pig at a trough. When presented with searching through the weird old house, a saucer-eyed Scruno nervously admits that, "Mah head's willin' but ah cain't convince mah feet!" And later: "Ah wish mah mammy was heah!"
We never noticed this stuff back when we were kids, or perhaps it was ignored, but I for one can no longer enjoy the antics of "Sleep 'n Eat," "Sunshine Sammy," Stepin Fetchit and other pioneering black actors. And Butterfly McQueen's "Ah don' know nuthin' 'bout birthin' babies" from GONE WITH THE WIND (1939) is starting to grate on me, too.
ALPHA VIDEO is the dba of a Pennsylvania-based outfit called GOTHAM. They specialize in niche market material, mostly vintage programmers and public domain stuff. Quality of their unrestored movie transfers varies from fair to good, based on condition of film stock and source material (often old 16mm broadcast prints). The only extras provided are a catalog insert and DVD-accessible title list.
Also from ALPHA:
For their very next programmer, THAT GANG OF MINE (1940), Muggs McGinnis (Leo Gorcey) becomes Muggs Maloney and Glimpy is still AWOL."